Army Dad Posts Photo Of Couple’s Shopping Cart, Faces Backlash

Anger Rising

Although it appeared to be a routine shopping trip, he was unaware that he was about to leave the store in such anger. But he wasn't angry because of the long queues at the cash register or the throng of people in the vegetable section.

It wasn't the yelling kids or the zombified mothers drowsily pushing their carts in front of him. He peeked inside the cart, which belonged to a different family, and felt his blood boil.

Making Every Effort Possible

Patrick Gibson was a dedicated worker who did everything he could to provide for his modest family. He believed that joining the American Army would make life easier.

It was undoubtedly difficult for him to leave his family for extended periods so that he might serve his nation, but if his parents had taught him anything, it was that nothing worthwhile ever comes for free.

Doing What He Can

When Patrick finally found Whitney, the love of his life, he considered himself lucky, and the happy pair soon got married. He quickly became the father of a boy and a girl.

But the couple ran into financial trouble, and with only one earning member of the family, they were forced to make due with what they could afford.

Feeding A Family

Patrick frequently skipped breakfast in order to make his $70 go as far as it could so that his family would have enough to eat. When you have four mouths to feed, $70 doesn't go very far, and the Gibsons were barely scraping by after other household costs like diapers, vehicle payments, gas, and hygiene.

But Patrick thought to himself that it was all right. With what he had, he was content. They would find a way to make it work.

Shopping For Groceries

Patrick went to the local Walmart to get some groceries one month when he had some money left over from his paycheck. He carefully browsed the aisles, making calculations in his head as he chose the greatest deals and promotions.

As he examined the brilliantly red grapes in the produce department, he considered whether he may be able to purchase a small pleasure for the family today. Patrick had no idea that his grin was about to disappear.

Getting Agitated

He didn't want to stay at Walmart any longer than necessary because it was crowded on that particular day. Children cried as their worn-out mothers pushed them aimlessly while unpleasant people rammed their shopping carts into Patrick's heels. It was time to leave that place.

He pushed his little haul of groceries to the checkout counter and waited to be helped, never expecting this small move would wreck his day so thoroughly.

Must Be Nice

Patrick regretfully observed the two piled-high trolleys in front of him as the slow-moving queue of consumers crept forward. Fresh steaks, butter, bacon, cheese, shrimp, and lobster were among the many items he saw piled high within the two carts.

“They were about to dump their goods upon the counter when he thought to himself, "Must be great. He had no idea that his next move would infuriate so many people.

Wait A Moment

The couple's groceries had been packed and totaled, so it wasn't shocking when the mind-numbing $800 figure showed on the screen.

Patrick was stunned when the man opened his wallet to make a payment. He moved a stack of $100 out of the way to make room for an EBT card.

Not Any Old Card

For those unfamiliar, an EBT card, or electronic benefits card, is a system that electronically distributes food stamps and enables state welfare departments to do so using a payment card.

And this was the method of payment the man was employing for all of his luxurious purchases. Once more, Patrick yanked out his phone in a furious manner.

No Judgment

Patrick was upset that the pair could handle paying for their food, even though using an EBT card was acceptable.

As he watched, the injustice of it all gnawed at him. How is this fair, exactly? That is when he made the unthinkable decision.


Patrick was in a rage, but he bit his tongue and snapped a picture. But wait... maybe he was too quick to judge, he thought, holding back his fury. 

After all, he couldn’t know what the couple’s situation was. But what he saw next in the Walmart parking lot was about to be the final straw.

Loading It All Up

The couple took some time to load the enormous amount of loot into the back of their car, so Patrick had already finished paying for his three bags of groceries when he passed them in the parking lot. 

Glancing to his right, he saw them again. This was a big mistake because he looked at the wrong time…


The fact that these people were paying for their groceries with food stamps while they had fat stacks of cash in their wallets put Patrick into a state of rage, but he had already made peace with what he had just seen and had decided to shake it off.

But that’s when he walked through the parking lot and saw the car they were driving. It was just too much. 

Taking To Social Media

The couple who had bought $800 worth of groceries were loading their loot into a brand-new Hyundai Genesis, a car which, according to Patrick, sells from between $15,000 to $20,000 more than his own family’s car. 

How had they possibly managed to afford a car like this while they were on welfare?

Big Mistake

To Patrick, this extra detail of the family driving an extravagant car around just added insult to injury. For those of you who don’t know much about cars, a brand-new Hyundai Genesis is a pretty nice car.

Sure, it’s no Tesla, but it’s a very expensive model of a respectable brand – and it’s certainly out of the price range of someone who would normally be on welfare. His blood was boiling as he took to Facebook to express his outrage.


He began his rant on Facebook with: “Sorry, but I had to vent. The picture you see on the left is the amount of groceries including diapers that I was able to afford this pay period for my family..." 

He continued: "wife, son, daughter, myself, which was paid in cash since I actually work hard for a living. The picture on the right is of the purchase in front of me in line.” But he didn’t end his rant there.


“If you can’t tell in the picture there are 2 full buggies of groceries including such items like steak and some other very nice choices of food. Here’s the kicker. This purchase was made in food stamps,” Patrick continued.

“...Which I wouldn’t have a problem with if I didn’t see the person move their big fold of cash out of the way to get to the ebt card and then load them into the back of a brand new Hyundai Genesis.”


“That is about 15k-20k more than my car,” Patrick wrote. Then he continued his rant, incredulous.

“I just thought I would take the time to tell this person/family that you are very welcome from all of us hard-working/ struggling to buy food Americans that have to foot the bill for your fancy steak feast... "

Not Fair

Patrick continued: "...while I skip breakfast and lunch every day so my wife and children have food to eat …because $50-$75 dollars doesn’t go very far.” 

He ends his post with a snarky comment, “So you enjoy your $800 free grocery purchase.” Needless to say, some Facebook users were as outraged as he was.

Voices Of Dissent

Most comments were positive, with many people saying that they had witnessed similar things, but some Facebook users criticized Patrick for his post, saying that he shouldn’t judge a stranger on just what he’s seen. 

One person commented: “Do you really know their back story?” and added that maybe the new car had been a gift. But Patrick’s retaliation provided an insight as to why he had felt like an injustice had occurred in Walmart that day.


“Do you really know their back story? Don’t be quick to judge someone ’cause you’re angry. How do you know if that person works and their spouse doesn’t work because of problems?"

"...That all the money in their pocket is to pay their bills and that the new car was a gift? How do you know that’s not the case?” someone criticized. But Patrick had the perfect reply.

Abusing The System

Patrick wasn’t about to take that. He knew what he had seen, and he stood by what he'd said. “Let’s just call it what it is,” he replied. “We can all sit around and believe in sunshine and rainbows, saying the old, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover stuff.”

“But the reality of it is that so many people are abusing the system that was put in place for struggling families.” Indeed, Patrick's retort made some pretty good points…


Of course, then again, there were people who were even less supportive of what Patrick had to say. One woman decided to get personal and got a bit feisty with her comments, saying that Patrick had been “creepy” for taking pictures of someone else’s grocery cart.

She also said that, for all he knows, that car doesn’t belong to the shopper, and maybe they have nine kids. Alas, we have no way of really knowing what the situation really is. But Patrick had another comeback.


“Well, the odds of that being the case in this situation much like many other situations with food stamps are almost as likely as me being approved for some government assistance because we are struggling…" Patrick replied.

"...oh, wait I forgot. We already got denied, so I’m pretty sure the chick isn’t dying, and no one gave her a free car. I am sure that hard-working people such as myself are giving her a free life though.” So, what is the real reason for Patrick’s outrage?

Assistance Denied

His rage stems from the fact that he and his family were denied assistance by the state when they needed it most. Patrick protects and serves all Americans, and yet he does not qualify to go on food stamps. It boggles the mind.

And now, he was famous for speaking out. But how did he feel about the sudden notoriety on Facebook?

Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

On a brighter note, after Patrick’s Facebook post began to make the rounds, he seemed excited that it had gone viral. In this screenshot taken from Facebook, we’re given an insight into his state of mind as it was happening in real-time.

Most people don’t get to experience feedback like this, so it must’ve been refreshing for Patrick to have his special moment. After all he had been through, it was probably invigorating to have so many people supporting him. But why did the post gain so much traction?

Going Viral

It’s not surprising that Patrick’s post has attracted a huge amount of attention. It has garnered over 100,000 shares and hundreds of comments on Facebook. 

There are many arguments both for and against his opinion of the couple who didn’t look like they needed government assistance. One particular post about Patrick’s experience raises an interesting point…

A Controversial Issue

“My point is, a picture paints a thousand words and your version is highly biased. No one needs to thank you or anyone else for working for their grocery bill when the fact is that a majority of families participating in the program are working families struggling to make ends meet just as you are,” one man wrote. 

The issue of who should and does qualify for financial assistance continues to be a sensitive topic. But what if it's a flawed system?

Do What Is Right

Regardless, it’s never okay to take advantage of a welfare system that is set in place for struggling families.

Not only does Patrick put his life, his time, and his energy on the line for America – but as a result, he has a lot less time at home to build himself a proper career. 

Stand Up

If there’s something that we can identify with in Patrick's story, it’s the fact that sometimes things are just unfair in this world. And quite often, there's not much we can do about it -- it's just out of our control.

It’s not easy to run a government, but that doesn’t mean people are supposed to just sit idly by while they feel that they’ve been treated unfairly. It’s always important to stand up for your rights. But the thing is, the couple couldn’t defend or explain themselves. Until now.

Defending Themselves

Because Patrick’s story went so wildly viral, the couple who had offended him saw it online and took to Reddit – a completely anonymous social media platform – to defend themselves

Now, we finally get to hear their side of the story. Whether people think they were in the wrong or not, everyone can now judge for themselves.

The Other Side Of The Story

The 2020 Reddit post is titled “S***w You, Patrick Gibson,” and begins like this: “So, Patrick Gibson, this one's for you…”

“Let me start by saying that my use of the EBT program for 11 months is not a hand-out. This is a social service that I paid into and do not feel guilty about using for a short period when there was no other way.”

“Not A Handout”

The lengthy, retaliatory post on Reddit continues, and it explains exactly why Patrick had no right to level judgment just because he saw a man and his wife using an electronic benefits card to buy groceries

“For more than 30 years, I worked, paid taxes, struggled financially, and did without often,” the anonymous woman continued. 

“You’re Welcome!”

“I paid my taxes so that you could attend public schools, drive on public streets, play at public parks, and be protected by police firefighters, and our military. For years YOU benefitted from all of MY hard work and taxes. So...You're Welcome!”

The post continues: “You don't approve of my purchase because you think people who struggle don't deserve what you consider a luxury?”

She Doesn’t “Owe” Him An Explanation

When you consider the actual story about the couple’s purchases, it becomes clear that Patrick may have been out of line. 

“Not that I owe you an explanation,” the angry woman’s post continued, “but the 2 carts of groceries you disapprove of are for 4 people for 2 months. And that steak I "scammed" the system out of?” 

Out Of Line?

The post proceeds to give some more background about the steak that had angered Patrick so much because it was a “luxury.”

“Well, we have been out of work for many months... all of our reserves were spent... we've cut every expense possible... but our son's birthday was in a couple of days, and we didn't have a spare dollar to buy him even the cheapest gift.”

The Steak

It turns out that that steak is their son’s favorite meal, and it had been a special treat for his birthday: “So, yes I bought a small steak,” the woman explains. “It was his entire birthday so go ahead and shoot me.” 

If Patrick was reading this post, he probably would have felt some shame right about now. But what about the wad of cash Patrick had seen? Did she have an explanation?

What About The Wad Of Cash?

This post just goes to show that maybe people should think twice about blasting strangers on the internet before they know the whole story.

“All that cash you saw?” the woman continued, “Why couldn't we pay cash for our food? That cash was RENT money. Are you angry that we actually use cash to pay our rent? Should we get evicted in order for you to feel that we are poor enough to warrant "your" help?

Okay… What About The Car?

The woman also had an explanation for the expensive car that Patrick had seen the couple loading their groceries into – specifically, the “brand-new” Hyundai Genesis.

“As for that "new car," you think I own?” the woman retorted, “Nope, guess again.” At this point, it’s really starting to look like Patrick didn’t have a leg to stand on.

It Didn’t Belong To Them

“My 9-year-old van is in the driveway in need of repair that we cannot afford right now” the Reddit post continues.

“My very generous neighbor allowed us to do our shopping in their car, another reason we bought so much at one time. It may be a long time before we would be able to go out shopping again.”

Finishing Touches

“Basically, what I'm saying… You don't know me. You don't know my story. You haven't walked in my shoes. But you want to judge me?? F--you!”

“Here's another thought, Patrick... as a member of the military, your paycheck is funded by MY taxes. You have a job because of ME. You're Welcome!” Unfortunately, there is only one comment on the long Reddit post – it was posted on a subReddit called “Off My Chest.”

Only One Response

“Anyway, maybe Patrick and his stay-at-home wife should stop having kids if he literally has to skip meals to feed them,” the Redditor sniped in response to the story and the man’s retaliatory post. 

The user continued: “He should also apply for EBT benefits since it's so easy to eat steak and lobster on the government's dime.”

Public Shaming

Sadly, we live in a digital world where shaming people online is common and ‘cancel culture’ is the norm. It’s almost impossible to scroll through our social media feeds and not see a post about “rude” people. 

Or, like a recent video that went viral, an angry “Karen” refusing to wear a mask. With such easy access to cameraphones, it’s very tempting to snap a picture of whatever or whoever has irked you that day. But should we do it?


While it may feel good to name whoever you feel has wronged you in some way, there are reasons why everyone should resist the urge. 

Firstly, online ‘naming and shaming’ and cancel culture can have a huge impact on a person or business’ reputation and career – especially when the ‘shaming’ wasn’t warranted, and only one side of a story is presented on social media. 

Don’t Do it

While public shaming isn’t a new concept, the digital age has taken this behavior to a whole new level. Public shaming also includes doxing – which is sharing someone’s private information without their consent. 

So, while it may be tempting to shame someone online in the heat of the moment, nobody should be doing it. Not just because it can cause damage to the person being shamed but because posts can and do go viral and you – like Patrick – may end up being the one with egg on your face. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.